" Strathaven, a town in Avondale parish, Lanarkshire, 71/8 miles S by W of Hamilton, 16 SSE of Glasgow, and 8¾ (by rail) S by E of High Blantyre station, as terminus of a branch line of the Caledonian. It stands, 600 feet above sea-level, on both banks of Powmillon Burn, 1 mile above its influx to Avon Water, and is a place of some antiquity. Seemingly it grew up under the protection of a strong castle built by an illegitimate grandson of the second Duke of Albany, Andrew Stewart, who in 1456 obtained the barony of Avondale, and next year was created Lord Avondale.
The ruins of the castle still crown a rocky eminence by the side of Powmillon Burn, and form a fine feature in the landscape. In the days of its strength it was probably quite engirt by the stream, and approached by a drawbridge. During Cromwell's usurpation it was temporarily in. habited by the Duchess of Hamilton, commonly called the good Duchess; but after her death in 1717 it seems to have fallen rapidly into decay. The town, which lost forty houses, a brewery, and large tanworks, by the great fire of 1 Nov. 1844, in its older parts wears an antique appearance, the houses being much huddled together, and the streets narrow and irregular; but the more modern parts contain some excellent houses, and comprise fine wide streets. A number of neat small villas also stand in the neighbourhood. Strathaven has post office, with money order, savings' bank, and telegraph departments, branches of the Bank of Scotland, the Royal, and the Union Bank, 13 insurance agencies, gasworks, a weekly Thursday market, and fairs on the first Thursday in Jan., March, April, and Nov., the last Thursday in June, and the Thursday after Lanark October Tryst. Weaving is the staple industry. Avondale parish church, built in 1772, contains 800 sittings. It was thoroughly renovated in 1879, and was adorned with an heraldic stained-glass window by the Duke of Hamilton, and with three beautiful 'in memoriam' windows by leading parishioners. East Strathaven chapel of ease was erected in 1837, and there is a Free church, dating from Disruption times, but replaced in 1884 by a neat new edifice seating 480. There are also three U.P. churches-First (1777; 603 sittings), East (1820; renovated 1877; 800), and West (1835; 976); and St Patrick's Roman Catholic church (1863; 150). Crosshill public, Ballgreen public, and a Roman Catholic school, with respective accommodation for 405, 333, and 90 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 298, 244, and 37, and grants of £298, £228, 6s., and £28, 13s. The town was erected into a burgh of barony in 1450, but enjoys little or no special local government. Pop. (1781) 1444, (1841) 3852, (1851) 4274, (1861) 4085, (1871) 3645, (1881) 3812, of whom 2027 were females. Houses (1881) 562 inhabited, 21 vacant, 5 building.—Ord. Sur.., sh. 23, 1865. "
From Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882-4
Strathaven of the past
from the picture postcard collection of Joe McKague
printed and published November 1996 by Duguid Printers, 6 Chapel Road, Strathaven ML10 6NA
"In the presbytery of Hamilton and synod of Glasgow & Ayr, this parish is divided, quoad sacra, into Avondale (pop 3259 in 1871) and the chapelry of East Strathaven (pop 2201). The living is worth £472; and both churches, being situated at Strathaven, will be noticed in the articles thereon, along with the Free Church, three U.P. churches, and Roman Catholic church."
(Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland 1883)
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